The Bride’s Guide to Freebies – Fabulous Big-Money Sweeptakes at Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Stewart

bride's guide to freebies

In my book The Bride’s Guide to Freebies, I’ve shared a ton of my top freebie-finding secrets for weddings, helping you avoid Mistake Freebies and lock into the ones that really add to your wedding day (and boost your wedding budget further!)

When this book first came out, we offered a wedding freebies newsletter, which grew too big too quickly for us to maintain well (and there weren’t always great freebies out there!) So we moved our wedding freebies info to my blog to make it easier for everyone to cash in!

In my book, I recommended the Better Homes and Gardens sweepstakes, which often included bigtime cash prizes, and this has gotten even better for you lately, since they switched their online sweepstakes entries into UNLIMITED entry for most of their big-money prizes. We’re talking $50,000 (which could pay for your whole wedding,) $25,000 (which, again, could pay for your whole wedding,) $20,000 (there’s the wedding gown of your dreams!) and more. (You’ll need to register with BHG, of course, and each entry requires you to click on a super-short video to make sure you’re not a bot. With these and any other online sweepstakes, always read the rules and fine print before you click!)

So, check it out, including the Martha Stewart sweepstakes and other sister magazines’ sweepstakes. We wish you good luck with your entries (and much fun with your winnings!)

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The Mother of the Bride Book, 2nd Edition is Available Now! And 2 copies are up for Giveaways!

Mother of the Bride Updated cover

I am SO excited! The 2nd edition of my Mother of the Bride Book is available now! And I’m giving away TWO copies on 12/9 for #WeddingWednesday, so post a comment here or use #weddingmoms on Wednesday to be entered for our random, computer-choice giveaway!

It’s been such a long time since my publisher and I began work to update my book, which has long been one of my bestsellers, but badly needed a refreshing. And now, here it is, all shiny and new, and featuring some of my favorite wedding experts’ top tips for the mother of the bride (and step-mother of the bride!)

I’ve added some new features, such as the top trends in what the mothers are working on for the wedding plans, how they’re bringing so much more valuable stuff to the table than moms of decades ago, my favorite apps, and celebrity fashion designer tips for the moms’ wedding day dresses.

Order your Kindle copy here, and if you’d like a paperback version, Barnes and Noble has it here. (Amazon is fixing the link for the paperback right now!)

And if you’re a wedding pro who wants multiple copies or wants to sell the book in your shop, just contact me via Twitter @sharonnaylorwed, and my sales team at Random House will set you up!

Want a signed copy of the paperback for your mom? I’ll soon be able to sign and send your copy to you!

Thank you so much for taking a look at my book’s ‘makeover,’ and for all your great reviews and support of my books over the past *21* years! I’m entirely grateful to you!

Freebie! Ways to Honor Family and Friends at Your Wedding — Part 4: Celebration Moments

Photo courtesy of Westminster Hotel Weddings

Photo courtesy of Westminster Hotel Weddings

We continue with freebie tips from my ebook on honoring your family and friends at your wedding. Today is all about celebration Moments:

Celebration Moments

  1. Serve some of the same menu elements that were served at your parents’ or grandparents’ weddings.
  2. Serve the same vintage of champagne that was served at your family members’ weddings.
  3. Serve family favorite recipes within your engagement party or rehearsal dinner menu, or perhaps as choices in your cocktail party or reception dinner.
  4. Include in your dessert hour the same type of dessert that was served at your parents’ wedding, such as the now-hot retro bananas flambé.
  5. Create signature cocktails, and name them after your relatives, such as ‘Stephanie’s Strawberry Margarita’ or ‘Maria’s Chocolate Martini.’
  6. At the start of your reception, perhaps even in place of your first dance, propose a toast to your parents, grandparents, relatives and guests. You can also make this toast right before you cut your cake if you don’t want to miss out on the first dance magic.
  7. Dedicate a song to your parents during the reception’s dancing hours.
  8. After your spotlight dances, surprise all sets of parents by having them dance to a song you’ve chosen for all of them (too many individual dances makes this opening to the reception drag a bit, so keep it shorter with the one song, or even a partial song that other guests are then invited to dance to.)
  9. Musically talented relatives can perform a song during your reception, perhaps during the dinner hour.
  10. If there’s a song that’s special to you and your siblings, request a song dedication to them as well. Or, request a song that all of your siblings on both sides of the family can dance to.
  11. The last song of the evening can be dedicated to your families…each and every member of them.

The Bride’s Guide to Freebies Newsletter has a new home here!

bride's guide to freebies

Welcome, Bride’s Guide to Freebies newsletter subscribers. I’ve moved the newsletter here permanently (the old emails won’t be coming anymore,) since we had some tech issues.

I’ll be posting new freebies here on my blog to help your wedding budget, so join me here and get ready to save a lot. Some of my newsletter subscribers wrote in to rave about their free wedding cakes, free cocktail party stations, and tons of free printables and craft supplies. One even won a free honeymoon. I’m quite proud of my book, and hope you’ll post a review if you haven’t already (many thanks to those of you who did!) And I’m proud to play a little part in your dream wedding day coming true on a budget.

 

I haven’t seen any excellent freebies in a while, with all of the stores and blogs offering Black Friday discounts lately. Everyone’s kinda shopping-fatigued. But here are a few from my own stash, plus some others I found for you:

Free excerpt of my book ‘Your Wedding Your Way:” https://sharonnaylorweddingbooks.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/wedding-planning-first-step-your-free-excerpt-of-your-wedding-your-way/

Free checklist for bridesmaids: https://sharonnaylorweddingbooks.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/free-checklist-for-bridesmaids-for-perfect-wedding-timing/

Shutterfly free shipping on $49 orders, and you can get a LOT for that with their current 50% off offers: http://www.shutterfly.com/special-offers

Follow the Frugal Girls and check out their Freebies often. Right now they have a free online cake pop class with Wilton, after signing up for a Craftsy account (always watch out for those ‘but first you have to sign up for… situations, which can be annoying, but still…) http://thefrugalgirls.com/category/freebies

Free Victoria’s Secret Reward Code (limited supply, and I’m not sure about rules, but take a look) http://www.swaggrabber.com/freebies-all/free-victoria-secret-reward-code-worth-up-to-500

 

Follow me here to get some excellent freebies to save money on your wedding, as well as on your other wedding celebrations like bridal showers, plus gifts and more!

 

Freebie! Ways to Honor Family and Friends at Your Wedding — Part 3: Heirlooms

debeers2

You’re loving your freebie tips on personalized wedding elements to honor family and friends on the big day! Here is some more from my ebook, focusing on using family heirlooms in your wedding plans:

Family Heirlooms

  1. Since wedding gown styles are now accented with a sparkling brooch – either on the bodice or in the back, you can honor your mother, grandmother, great-grandmother or an honored woman on your groom’s side by wearing her brooch as part of your ensemble.
  2. Brooches are also popular accents for bouquet handles, so perhaps that brooch, or a cameo pin, can be your bouquet accent in tribute to its owner.
  3. Wear the necklace your mom or grandmother wore on her wedding day. It might be a demure piece you wear only for the ceremony, and then you can change into a more dramatic sparkler for your reception.
  4. Bracelets may be more fitting to your gown’s style, so wear an heirloom diamond tennis bracelet, or it may be that piece that your mom wore at her wedding, either as an heirloom or a gift from your father…which actually honors him as well.
  5. A saint medallion owned by your grandmother can be pinned underneath the skirts of your dress or pinned onto your bouquet handle.
  6. Rhinestone hair clips are often found in grandmothers’ jewelry boxes, and vintage hair accents are in for today’s weddings. If you slip these into your wedding day hairstyle, you add an element of your beloved grandmother’s style to your look.
  7. Sisters can be honored too, by wearing their jewelry or hair clips for your wedding look.
  8. Have your mother’s wedding-day headpiece re-made to include a slightly altered design, perhaps more or fewer rhinestones or faux gems.
  9. You don’t have to be the one wearing the heirloom piece! Perhaps your mother can wear her mother’s jewelry, or if you have a daughter, a small rhinestone hairclip owned by her grandmother or great-grandmother is a pretty way to include honored relatives.
  10. If an heirloom piece of jewelry doesn’t work for your wedding day look, wear it to your rehearsal dinner or engagement party.
  11. Take some lace from your mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress and use that as the wrap for your wedding bouquet.
  12. Birdcage veils are in now, and if your grandmother wore one at her wedding, you might wear hers for your ceremony, or just for some post-ceremony photos if you’d rather wear a different style of headpiece for your ceremony.
  13. Your groom can wear his father’s or grandfather’s pocketwatch, wristwatch or cufflinks during the wedding.
  14. Handkerchiefs were musts in wedding days of old, so bring your grandmother’s along to the wedding to capture in some of your wedding photos.
  15. Don’t forget that your future in-laws would love to be so honored, so ask if there are any costume jewelry heirloom pieces that you might be willing to work into your wedding look. It’s quite an honor!
  16. If your mother’s or sister’s ring pillow fits with your ceremony style, and is in perfect condition, you might use that as your ring pillow. You can always pin on some pretty faux flowers or ribbon to make it your ‘own.’
  17. Save a little bit of money and honor your parents by using their original cake topper for your wedding cake, or use it as the topper for your engagement party or rehearsal dinner cake if you have a different style in mind for your wedding cake’s accenting.
  18. A mom’s or grandmother’s wedding shawl or wrap, or winter stole, can be a wedding day accessory – just be sure to get at least one pro photo of you wearing it!

Find more wedding freebie ideas in my book The Bride’s Guide to Freebies.

bride's guide to freebies

Freebie! Ways to Honor Family and Friends at Your Wedding, Part 2 — Florals

 

caneel engagement ring in flower 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of my freebie series! I decided to make my ebook a big freebie for you, sharing tips on how you can honor your family and friends at your wedding. This time, we’re talking wedding flowers and floral décor as a way to honor departed loved ones, or just give your nearest and dearest a special wedding tribute:

caneel ring in flower

Florals

  1. If you have a departed parent, leave a chair open for them at the ceremony, and place a single white rose on it.
  2. Or, on the departed parent’s or grandparents’ chair, place their favorite type of flower.
  3. Create a grand floral tribute arrangement displayed on a pedestal by your ceremony altar or chuppah, and write in your wedding program that the arrangement is in memory of your departed loved ones, listed by name.
  4. If you’re marrying by the ocean or by a lake, set a floating floral piece in the water in memory of your departed relatives.
  5. Incorporate into your wedding bouquet some of the same flowers your mother used in hers. Kate Middleton did this, using a type of florals used in Queen Elizabeth’s wedding bouquet, so it’s definitely a trend!
  6. Decorate your wedding trellis or chuppah with some of the same flowers used in your parents’ weddings.
  7. Use your birthmonth flower in your bouquet. See the list here.
  8. Mix your birthmonth flower with your kids’ birthmonth flowers, or with your groom’s, your parents’, and so on.
  9. Use flower that’s central to your culture, or to the region where your wedding will take place to add extra personalization to your bouquet or to your floral arrangements and décor. Let guests in on the meaning with pretty signs placed on their tables, or via a note in your printed wedding program.
  10. Missing a departed relative? Use their birthmonth flower in your bouquet as a way to carry a little piece of them with you.
  11. It doesn’t have to be your departed relative whose birthmonth flower is in your bouquet. If your groom’s mother of grandmother has passed away, using their birthmonth flower is a lovely tribute to his family and will be very touching to all, especially to him.
  12. Create a small tribute floral arrangement, with a note explaining the meaning, on your family wedding photos table. Keep it subtle, so that it doesn’t come off like a funeral remembrance floral, and create a lovely sign naming the honored relatives.
  13. Re-create your mother’s wedding bouquet as a special and sentimental floral feature on your family wedding photo table. The same can be done with your grandmother’s wedding bouquet. Again, create and display small signs sharing the meaning with guests.
  14. You may have heard of the “Language of Flowers,” an age-old collection of symbolism attached to a wide variety of flowers and their colors. For instance, a white rose can mean ‘purity’ or ‘innocence.’ See the list here. Use these symbols to create pretty floral pieces for your relatives, and share the meanings with them.
  15. Or, have relatives look over the Language of Flowers list of meanings and select their own flowers according to what they wish to ‘say’ with them.
  16. Set apart the VIP chairs or pew at your ceremony by affixing pretty florals to the backs of seats where parents, grandparents, and other honored family members will sit. Spread the joy by doing this for the second or third rows where special relatives like great-aunts or godparents will sit.
  17. If you have children or are blending your families, make the kids’ chairs extra-special by affixing special floral pieces to the backs of their chairs to give them a special chair of their own.
  18. If you have a daughter or daughters, or your groom does, surprise them by giving them mini versions of your bouquet to carry, instead of a basket of flower petals.
  19. Boutonniere styles can be personalized to honored men in the family, such as to fathers, grandfathers, great-uncles, godfathers and cultural honored men in the family to set them apart.
  20. For men’s flowers, look again at the Language of Flowers to give their blooms special meanings.
  21. During your ceremony, present your parents with long-stemmed roses or other flowers as a moment of love, thanks and tribute to them. This can be a surprise element not practiced at the rehearsal to pack an emotional impact.
  22. Some cultures feature rituals of exchanging fruits, flowers and other items with parents and grandparents within the ceremony. Explore your culture’s good luck and prosperity rituals with parental involvement, and either use them as-is, or give them a modern twist. Relatives love it when you honor an ancestral rite in your modern wedding.
  23. As guests depart your ceremony, have an attendant distribute small flowers to each, that they are to tuck into a trellised décor feature that already has an arrangement of flowers in it. Instruct guests to do so while thinking good wishes for you, and then have your photographer capture that pretty floral décor structure for your wedding album.
  24. Your new family monogram letter can be spelled out in flowers on the lawn where your outdoor ceremony, cocktail party or reception will take place.
  25. If you’ll marry in a garden or sprawling grounds, have your floral designer create flower petal tributes to your relatives, such as your parents’ first initials of S + D and your groom’s parents’ initials of M + H, and so on…beautifully-done and photo-captured as soon as they’re created so that the wind doesn’t ruin the effect before photos can be taken.
  26. Kids’ initials can also be spelled out in flower petals on the grounds’ lawn as a special tribute to them as well.
  27. Florals hanging from trees can be inspired by the same flower types used at relatives’ weddings, with a note in your program saying that’s the design inspiration. Be sure the flower types work together, so that you don’t have non-seasonal or clashing flowers in this display. Work with your floral designer to perfect this unique and pretty outdoor wedding display.
  28. Floral wreaths can adorn your ceremony site’s doors, with your birthmonth flowers or family members’ wedding flowers included.
  29. Back to the table of family wedding photos or portraits: add little touches of floral prettiness with tiny sprigs attached to each frame, and the same type of flower sprinkled on the table top for a budget-friendly, super-stylish effect.

Love this freebie? Find out how to get more in my book The Bride’s Guide to Freebies.

bride's guide to freebies

 

 

Wedding Pros, Get my ‘Great 8’ Promotional Plan, Including Freebies and Mega-Value Consultation! Inspired by my Dad on Father’s Day!

Photo by Joe Toris

Photo by Joe Toris

Inspired by my Dad’s legacy on Father’s Day to create a fabulous, new Promotions Package filled with amazing promos, freebies, consults, guest posts, social media magic and more!

Starting today and lasting just through June and July, here’s what you can get:

  • An ad on my site www.sharonnaylor.net; it goes up now and stays up for three years! Value $600.
  • An ad on my blog, (see it here: https://sharonnaylorweddingbooks.wordpress.com/) that stays there indefinitely!
  • Three guest posts on my blog, written by you (with my help, if you’d like!) and my social media promotions ongoing!
  • Two signed copies of my recent wedding books, for your bridal show giveaways or contests. Choose from The Bride’s Guide to Freebies, Bridesmaid on a Budget, The Ultimate Bridal Shower Idea Book, and other top titles from my site www.sharonnaylor.net
  • A surprise gift for your bridal show giveaways and contests.
  • 1 –hour phone consultation on your book idea – whether you want to do traditional publishing or self-publishing, I’ll advise on your steps to becoming a published author! Value: $500
  • 20% off my book consultation fees!  Just this year, three of my book publishing clients landed BIG book deals, six landed top literary agents, and two more are about to sign dream-come-true book contracts, one with a movie-of-the-week as a major possibility. I handle wedding books, cook books, craft books, novels, any kind of book you’d like to do! Value: over $1,500. http://www.sharonnaylor.net/bookpub.htm
  • Work with me, and you’ll be on my radar for the many bridal articles and blog posts I do every month! The better I know you and your products and services, the more I’m likely to put you in that big bridal feature!

So there’s my Great 8 summer weddings promotional plan, inspired by my dad, who instilled in me a huge generosity of time and a willingness to help others’ dreams come true. When you do well, your family benefits, and I’d love to help make that happen!

So what do you think I’m charging? Oh, just $100! That’s right…what you likely spend for one little tiny box ad on another site gets you all this, with freebies and valuable book consult!!

Contact me at SLNaylor[at]optonline[dot]net!